pentment review

REVIEW: Pentiment joins Obsidian's hall of masterpieces

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Historical accuracy and a love of typography are the cornerstones of the investigative narrative centered on Ecclesiastical Government in the Middle Ages. Check out another Obsidian triumph!

Ambitious narrative with historical context of the 16st century and accessibility for the most different levels of familiarity with RPG are flagships of pentiment, an adventure that we live in the skin of an artist among the Bavarian Alps, stylized with the influence of illustrated manuscripts of the time.

With this premise, I mean that anyone, even those who don't really like the genre, can learn and have fun with the title inspired by the beautiful medieval art, in which the investigative tone that demands weighty choices from the player adds a potentiating layer to the ability to provide different experiences for different people.

Thus, we already advance that the Obsidian nailed it once again, after all, the studio proves that it specializes in producing very detailed and sewn narratives. This is a real story in transformation, for the player to impact with difficult decisions and interact with revolutionary peasants. See the consequences of your choices at pentiment!

Understanding the historical context of Pentment

Review pentment
Otto, peasant who leads the revolt against the abbey, center
Image: Letícia Leite

Obsidian and the game director, John sawyer, are responsible for high-caliber RPGs such as Pillars of Ethernity e Fallout: New Vegas, the best in the series, without a shadow of a doubt. Therefore, expectations for the new work were justifiably high. (chiringa.com)

Sawyer always recognized that the game would not be for the general public because of the historical characteristics, including, the studio was skeptical at first. The big factor that made the development of Pentiment possible was the Game Pass. Xbox Game Studios acquired the legendary studio in 2018 and has since been looking for a smaller-scale title to feature at the GamePass. Thank God, as is often said in Pentiment!

The narrative path chosen this time arises from Sawyer's desire to make a historical game, which makes sense within the director's motivation and professional credibility, since he has a degree in history and has studied, more specifically, the Holy Roman Empire🇧🇷 And the XNUMXth century, the period in which Pentiment is set, was a tumultuous time in which religious and political conflicts converged, with similarities to the current scenario.

Review pentment
In Pentiment, pets can be petted
Image: Letícia Leite

This is the background of the story of Andreas Maler, a master artist who finds himself in the midst of murder, scandal and intrigue over the course of 25 years. What is our role? Well, first, it is worth a brief explanation about the term “pentimento”, translation of the title. It refers to the act of painting over a previous work. As we move forward, lies are "scraped" to reveal the truth amid diverse characters suspected of murder. So our work here is investigative!

Don't worry if you missed some classes. Due to the complexity of the historical context, the game offers tools such as a glossary of medieval terms for a less turbulent journey, with descriptions done in the same manner as the notes seen in the margins of actual manuscripts. It's nice to see the team's commitment shown in the veracity of events according to the time. One of the examples is the double monasteries presented by the game, with monks and nuns, which were being eliminated by the Church at that time. So, we see a blend of functionality and atmosphere building done excellently!

Dialogues about art and religion are extensive and well developed in pentiment.
Dialogues about art and religion are extensive and well developed
Image: Letícia Leite

It is necessary to say that for those who don't like long dialogues, so little history, Pentiment will not be pleasant. However, if you enjoy a chaotic good mood where we can simply belittle the Church, while at the same time dealing with serious questions as the disparity in the distribution of wealth and abuses of institutional power, it will be a fascinating experience.

Choice system exudes authenticity

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We are in charge of Maler's life, shaping his personality, academic background, and travel history🇧🇷 I will give an example of one of these choices: like many of us, he has already locked up college, and the interesting thing is that we can choose the abandoned course, such as medicine or theology, a factor that impacts on a brief knowledge regarding the chosen area, opening different dialog options. Meanwhile, in terms of personality, you could be a thinker who lives with his head buried in books or a braggart hedonist who loves to talk about the pleasures of life, for example.

At various times, after determining your choice, a notification appears on the screen: “This will be remembered”. all this refined system in using the character's history to interact and respond with relevant and diverse sentences is amazing, being one of Obsidian's greatest hits.

Once again, I have to praise the impressive level of verisimilitude with the time, because in addition to the lines and social roles, there is the implementation of canonical hours which, among many other elements, gives us the feeling of passing time.

There are also mini games and puzzles, like an arrangement of photos on the wall of one of the suspicious residents. By interacting with elements, such as a hanging cross in this case, we were able to further explore people's problems with the church and the local abbot, all without any mechanical difficulties. As I said at the beginning of the text, this is a game that shines by being accessible to all types of gamers, from avid gamers to beginners.

striking art style

Body autopsy illustrated with in-game art style - review pentiment
Body autopsy illustrated with the game's art style
Image: Letícia Leite

Manuscripts and other types of written works are an important part of Pentiment, so in-depth research was an essential part of this project, mainly for the art direction, under the leadership of Hannah Kennedy🇧🇷 The team analyzed illuminated medieval manuscripts No. Getty Museum and Huntington Library, in search of inspiration, in addition to consulting historians specializing in manuscripts.

At first, I found myself trying to understand the system for applying a variety of medieval fonts, only to discover that the text boxes are filled in according to how these fonts would have been written in the 16th century. The attention to detail still baffles me. . Dialogues of monks, for example, appear in monastic script. Some of these fonts may not be practical to read, so please Players can opt for more readable typography in the settings.

In addition to the history class, Pentiment still teaches about functional and authentic art direction!

Masterpiece available on Game Pass

Narrative adventures and period pieces may not have much appeal to the general public, but Pentiment is able to capture the eyes of those willing to embark on a different experience – a living written work of art. The historical accuracy and affection for sources also surprise those most curious about the Ecclesiastical Government of the Middle Ages. It's worth checking out and enjoying another Obsidian triumph!

pentiment is available from November 15th on Game Pass and Steam.

See more:

Looking for more exciting Game Pass titles? check out the full review of A Plague Tale: Requiem!

10/10
total Score
  • History
    9/10 Amazing
    Who knew that a narrative-investigative game, set in the 16th century, would have such surprising stitching? Even though it is a title from a studio acclaimed for its RPGs, Pentiment has unique resources adapted to the historical context of the time that, at the same time, bring immersiveness and entertainment to the player. Well-reasoned dialogues are convincing and, at other times, contesting responses bring laughter. Perfect atmosphere! The only criticism is for a few dragged moments of the story, but this is a mere detail in the face of the game's delivery.
  • Gameplay
    10/10 Excellent
    Authenticity is the word that defines the game mechanics of this work. The refined system of using the character's history to interact and respond with pertinent and diverse phrases is incredible, even in moments of unnecessary dialogue for the investigation. Turning pages, which works like changing the environment, is fluid and intuitive.
  • Art direction
    10/10 Excellent
    Interactions play out over written text, not speech, and the game's dialogue includes the sounds and animations of ink being pressed directly onto a page, with a typography type for each character category. To reach the highest level of verisimilitude with the game's flat perspective and woodcut art styles, the team engaged in in-depth research with the help of illuminated manuscripts from the late medieval period, particularly works by the German painter and engraver Albrecht Dürer. Respect!

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